Transforming NPS ‘Passives’ into Customer Advocates

By August 18, 2020Blog

Customer advocates

Passives really are the middle child of the NPS family.

Because they’re not as happy as promoters — or as much of a churn risk as detractors — they’re often ignored. They’re not even in the NPS formula.

Net Promoter Score = % Promoters – % Detractors.

Yeah, they tend not to make the biggest splash. But a strategy that includes these middle-of-the-road customers can move the needle.

Your secret sales team

First, let’s get this out of the way: Passives are customers who rate the likelihood of recommending your solution with 7-8 out of 10 on an NPS survey. These surveys are sent out regularly to measure the happiness of your customers.

Second, it is worthwhile to allocate resources to convert customers into the realm of advocacy. That’s because customer advocates are five times more valuable than the average customer. 

Customer advocates, users who champion your product, can:

  • Leave positive reviews.
  • Refer other customers.
  • Serve as sources for testimonials and case studies.
  • Help out as beta partners for future releases. 

So, here’s how you can turn your quiet ones into customer advocates: 

Identify your passives

OK, first you have to find ’em. The larger the group of passives you find, the larger pool you have to create advocates. 

While assessing passive users, look for recurring themes. 

  • Are particular types of customers more likely to be indifferent? 
  • What can that teach you about potential weak spots in your customer journey? 
  • Sometimes fixing the one problem that created a passive can be a big lever to pull.

Also, keep an eye on how passive customers evolve. Was there one ticket that moved them down? Every move up (or down) the NPS scale can teach you something about what works, or what to look for. 

Find low-hanging fruit

Which customers have the best odds of turning into advocates with the least effort? 

One way to figure this out is to call them directly. Tell them what you’re on a mission to do. Partner with them. They’ll tell you how to get to advocacy.

Some points to investigate include:

  • Are there users who used to be advocates but slipped into passive territory? 
  • Are there users on an upward trajectory?
  • Have you previously converted a passive into an advocate? If so, you may be able to use that same playbook. 

Find sticking points

The best-case scenario is that a small tweak or “aha moment” could send a user towards advocacy territory. Reviewing product usage data or checking in with the user about their goals could reveal a sticking point. Often, the answer is right in front of you on a ticket. 

After you’ve found an area where your customer is falling behind (look at you, CS detective!), you can get to work sending helpful materials or in-app callouts for crucial features. 

Follow up regularly

If you already have a schedule to follow up with accounts, you could save passive to advocate work for your regularly scheduled time. You may not be able to boost a user’s NPS score right away, but you can play the long game by collecting information and watching the account over time. 

Relationship building for CS teams is about learning about multiple people at the company and tailoring your conversations to be as helpful as possible.  

Learn from successful NPS upgrades

Analyzing NPS and in-app surveys for common complaints can teach you about user segments. Read the tea leaves. You don’t have to rely on luck. Often, problems can be fixed with surgical improvements. 

Plus, you can reverse-engineer your work and analyze what may have happened for users who naturally evolved from passive to advocate. Where can you patch that leaky bucket?

Want to learn more about leveraging your most satisfied customers for company growth? We’ve got a step-by-step guide in the Customer Advocacy Playbook.  

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